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Effective IWB use in SEN

The interactive whiteboard may well be the greatest ICT resource available to teachers today. It can also be the biggest waste of money possible. If used as a display device just buy a cheap flat screen TV. However for students with SEN the whiteboard can provide some fantastic opportunities for interaction and really motivating activities.


There are currently two main types of IWB available. The projector and board combo usually smartboard or prometheon. These have been around for a few years now. There is now the newer type that are like huge touchscreen TVs these are just coming down in price to be comparative to the projector based models in terms of cost. Our school has a mix of both types depending on the needs of the students in the class.

Projector Models


  • Very Robust
  • Simple operation
  • Cheaper


  • Shadow from projector
  • Need to align
  • Cost of replacement bulb (non-LED)
  • Mounting more limited

TV Style


  • clearer picture
  • brighter
  • no-shadow
  • easier to place
  • smaller area needed
  • accuracy of touch


  • cost usually higher
  • less durable
  • more complexity i.e need to select pen.

It is how you use the software that really determines whether they will become a worthwhile investment. You can access games from websites etc but to be honest you could use laptops or tablets for this. The cost of 1 good IWB with installation is about the same as 15 Android tablets or 30 Amazon fire tablets.

We use the Smart notebook software which is pretty good and quite simple to learn. I haven’t yet used all the different capabilities but there are a number of key activities and options that are really effective. On the resources page I have added a number of files that I  have made over the years. I have not yet found a really good web based method of creating interactive lessons that I need with my learners with SEND. there are plenty of interactive quizzes available for mainstream though. My students do really enjoy using Kahoot but this doesn’t require an interactive display.

Building Interactivity for SEND in smart Notebook.

One of the biggest successes we have had is in developing individualised cause and effect activities. These can easily be adjusted to topic themes or individual interests and the level of complexity adapted in minutes for the next session. I have included some examples of the simplest of the lessons/activities here as they can really be used for ANY student.

In this activity students touch the leaves to brush them away to reveal the coin. Linking to an autumn theme. Could be any image underneath.


A similar concept the students touch the tiles which then fly out with a sound effect to reveal a motivating image.


A very simple cause and effect, you touch the different colours and they spin and make a noise. You can easily change the shapes and colours. We threw bean bags at the board which activated the shapes (older projector based board)

Download a Zip files of these activities (sensory-iwb-files-inclusive-teaching..)

Some more free examples are hosted on my TES resources page.  I have quite a few, leave a comment if you have a specific request.



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